Behind the scenes during the Phantom Manor refurbishment

Between January 2018 and May 2019, Phantom Manor at Disneyland Paris went under an extensive 16 month refurbishment. Whilst many things in the Manor did change following the refurbishment, one thing remained constant: the dedication of the Disney Imagineers to their craft and creating the best illusions to surprise guests.

To celebrate the reopening, Disneyland Paris have released a 17 minute documentary which goes behind the scenes with some of the key creative figures involved in this magnificent refurbishment.

RunDisney Paris medals 2019 – revealed!

Aladdin, Carpet and Abu on a medal

The Disneyland Paris Run Weekend will return from 19-22 September 2019; with the theme for the weekend being Adventure, Disneyland Paris have created a range of medals that really work with the theme.

The 5km race takes place on Friday 20th September 2019, the course will be lined with your favourite Disney animals and a Lion King themed medal has been created for the race.

5km RunDisney Medal 2019, bronze with a Simba on it.

The following day, Saturday 21st September 2019, a 10km course through the two Disney Parks focuses on the adventures of the Disney Princesses who follow their dreams. At the finish, runners will receive a medal with the adventurer princess herself: Rapunzel!

Gold and Purple medal featuring Rapunzel and Pascal

On Sunday 22nd September 2019, the Disneyland Paris-Val d’Europe Half Marathon will take runners through the two Disney Parks and the surrounding districts; the theme for characters along this course will be famous Disney couples and who better to be on the medal than the most famous of all the Disney couples: Mickey and Minnie.

Mickey and Minnie running in front of the castle

There are also two unique challenge medals. The 31km challenge is for guests completing both the 10km race and the half marathon. This is perhaps the most beautiful medal of the collection featuring Aladdin in the Cave of Wonders with Abu and the magic carpet; the medal ribbon is the design of the magic carpet.

Aladdin, Carpet and Abu on a medal

The 36km challenge medal is a bit more plain featuring just the Genie. This medal is for participants of the 5km, 10km and Half-Marathon races.

Genie crossed arms on a medal

The final medal is the Castle to Chateau challenge medal, this one has not changed through the years and is awarded to runners who complete the Disneyland Paris-Val d’Europe Half Marathon and either a Half-Marathon or Marathon at Walt Disney World in Florida during the same calendar year.

Castle to Chateau medal featuring the US and French flags

On Saturday 21st September, the Disneyland Paris kids race will also take place; in the theme of adventure this year the medal features Peter Pan and the Lost Boys.

Peter Pan and the Lost Boys on a Neverland themed medal

Disneyland Paris have also released a short video (French only, no subtitles) describing the production process of the creation of the medals.

The Disneyland Paris Run Weekend is always a highlight of the Disneyland Paris calendar – good luck to all running!

Rendez-Vous Gourmand to return in Summer 2019

Disneyland Paris has announced the return of the popular food festival the Rendez-Vous Gourmand for the summer 2019 period. The festival will run from 10th July until the 13th October 2019 in the Walt Disney Studios Park.

A Cast Member working at the Rendez-Vous Gourmand 2018 in Disneyland Paris

The festival celebrates food and drink from across France and Europe with stalls promoting food from many of the French regions (such as Brittany Crepes, Raclette from Savoie, Provence Ratatouille) as well as many renowned European dishes including Spanish Paella, Italian Panna Cotta and Belgian Frikandelle.

New for 2019 will be a stand dedicated to Greek food which will include salads and moussaka, a patisserie stand offering eclairs and a new wine stand which will be centred around organic wines from across France.

Of course, all the popular entertainment and music will also be returning to make this a fun filled summer festival of food in the Walt Disney Studios Park.

A crêpe and cider at the Rendez-Vous Gourmand 2018 in Disneyland Paris

Review: Breakfast with the Disney Princesses

Pastries next to a menu during the Disneyland Paris Princess breakfast at the Auberge de Cendrillon

Who doesn’t want to wake up with breakfast in the heart of Fantasyland with the Disney Princesses? From July 1st 2019 this popular breakfast offering is returning to Disneyland Paris, I had the chance to try it during its Spring 2019 run and it was such a wonderful experience that I’m so glad is making a permanent return to the park.

The food

Upon arriving at the Auberge de Cendrillion in Fantasyland, a friendly Cast Member will take you to your table in the restaurant; already set up on the table are a range of pastries including Croissants, Pain au Chocolat, Breads. These pastries tasted fresh and were a great way to open up the meal.

Pastries next to a menu during the Disneyland Paris Princess breakfast at the Auberge de Cendrillon

At this point you will also be brought your choice of hot drink and fruit juice. These are pretty basic, but fine, they are never going to be the highlight of the meal.

After a few minutes, you will be brought a selection of sweet items including yoghurt, salmon and a few other bits. These felt mostly forgettable in the great scheme of the breakfast, an afterthought and not the most tasty one at that.

A breakfast dish at the Auberge de Cendrillion including an egg, 3 sausages, potatoes and assorted vegetables. The plate is finished with a Mickey Mouse waffle

The main dish is a good mix of eggs, sausages, potatoes and a Mickey waffle. These were all delicious and tasted like the premium offering that this meal is. The potatoes are cooked in butter and taste richer for this, whereas the sausages are the usual veal sausages that you’ll find in the hotel breakfasts. Whilst I enjoyed the Mickey Waffle, and it does make for a good photo, it would have been nice for some form of accompaniment to it, perhaps some maple syrup? Without it, the waffle lacks something.

The Disney Princesses

Whilst a delicious breakfast is one part of the breakfast, you’re really here to meet some of the Disney princesses! At the breakfast 3 princesses will be present – no princes or other characters. Whilst this is not a large number of characters, you never feel rushes in your interactions, it always feels relaxed and that the princess has time for a good conversation.

Aurora posing in a medieval castle looking doorway at the Auberge de Cendrillon at Disneyland Paris

Cast Members will always be walking around to ensure that you get to see each of the 3 as well, you’ll never be caught short. On my visit I had the chance to meet Aurora, Cinderella and Snow White. Getting 3 princesses in quick succession with no wait time can be worth its weight in gold during the peak seasons!

I felt that 3 was the optimum number, I came away feeling both satisfied with my meets but also that I had the chance and opportunity to have a relaxed breakfast meal.

Practical Information

The Princess breakfast at the Auberge de Cendrillion returns on 1st July 2019. Bookings can be taken via your travel agent or via the Disneyland Paris dining line.

The meal is priced at €49 (with annual pass discounts applicable as usual) and is broken into two sittings – 8:30am and 9:45am.

Should you do this meal?

If you are wanting to have a more upper-end breakfast or meet the Disney Princesses without the wait, then almost certainly yes, you should make time for this. The Princess Breakfast is a truly special experience and will make many faces light up with joy.

It would be nice for the breakfast to have photographers with the characters to add to the Disney PhotoPass+ service, but unfortunately this does not happen – make sure you bring your camera to immortalise those memories!

An empty dining room in a castle-like setting at the Auberge de Cendrillon in Disneyland Paris

Cépages: Restaurant Review

Cépages wine - Villages Nature Paris

On the Lakeside Promenade at Villages Nature Paris sits a cluster of a few restaurants. From my reading and research, a lot of excitement and hype seems to surround the Cépages Wine Bar and Restaurant. Luckily, as part of the InsidEars Hotels and Resorts Discovery Weekend, I was given the chance to take a look around Villages Nature and the chance to try a meal inside this restaurant.

From the outset, Cépages is a distinctly French affair playing loud live performances of French music outside as you approach. But this is no traditional old bistro, Cépages is distinctly modern in both look, food and sounds.

Cépages at Villages Nature

Design with a modern French flair

Cépages, as previously mentioned is very modern in outlook, this suits the Lakeside Promenade down to the ground; everything here is about the large glass fronts allowing for enjoyable vistas over the main lake. The airy modern feel means that you never really feel like your fellow diners are on top of you.

The wine cellar at Cépages, Villages Nature

For those wanting a private dining experience, there is the private wine cellar area. This closes off to be protected from the rest of the restaurant and offers intimate group dining away from the crowds.

Food that prioritises shared experiences

Food at Cépages is a very traditional affair. Most dishes are inspired by classic French cuisine with plenty in the way of sharing dishes.

For starter, I opted for the Butternut soup. The dish was plenty big enough for a starter portion and had a very rich and creamy taste. I was unsure about having the seeds inside the soup dish, I ended up eating around them and leaving them. This was slightly annoying as it obviously caused avoidable food waste; whilst the seeds are good from a presentational perspective, I think practically it does not work so well. However, the taste was very good and overall I still enjoyed the dish.

For my main course I opted for the Bœuf Bourgignon which was served on top of a bed of Tagliatelle  pasta. Mains are presented in sharing hot pot dishes which you are able to share amongst your table; the concept works really well and encourages a shared dining experience – as a quirk of this restaurant, I think this is a great idea and adds something quite fun into the mix.

Taste wise, this dish was sublime. The beef was delightfully tender, the vegetables and potatoes were slow cooked until soft and the sauce flavouring was rich.

Bœuf Bourgignon at Cépages - Villages Nature
Desert, for me, was the Pomme façon tatin (Apple in the tatin style). Having expected the presentation of this to have been more like a tart, this was a bit of a surprise. The apple, in a caramelised sauce on a bed of ice cream, pastry and crumble tasted delightful. As a picture, it looks a bit messy; but don’t let the photo deceive you, the taste of the warm, soft apple really does work well. It’s not a tart, but it is good.

Obviously, in a wine bar you’d expect to have a range of wines on offer. Cépages is no different, as part of the tour we had a red wine – selected by the restaurant – to try (unfortunately I did not manage to catch the name I’m afraid); the wine was light and packed a good taste. I would be confident in saying that Cépages would be able to guide you to the right wine for your meal and for that wine to be of a good quality.

Cépages wine - Villages Nature Paris

Final thoughts

Cépages is a restaurant to try if you are passing through Villages Nature. Its location, close to all the central facilities of the resort, means that even if you are just passing through for a day that this is a viable option for a meal.

Inside you will have an enjoyable meal in a sleek modern environment which mixes modern French life with its traditional past. I look forward to one day returning and trying even more dishes.